Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Capitol Hill This Week - What to Watch For (UPDATED)

The House stands in recess until November 16, and the Senate chambers will be darkened this Wednesday, November 11, for Veterans' Day, leaving very little room for Congressional activities.  Behind the scenes this week, Senate appropriators will be busy drafting an omnibus spending bill after receiving new spending allocations that reflect the bipartisan budget deal signed into law two weeks ago (H.R.1314 - the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015).  Congress is facing a December 11 deadline to pass spending legislation for the current fiscal year.  The topic of spending bill "riders" that limit funding for contentious federal programs and initiatives is sure to arise between now and then.  Last week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), Chairwoman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee (that oversees spending bills relating to the U.S. EPA and the Interior Department) reiterated the Republican plan to put forward multiple riders, including one restricting spending to implement the Waters of the U.S. rule.

Thus far only two Senate committee hearings are scheduled this week relating to Mississippi River Basin water resources: a hearing regarding spending on unauthorized programs (see this Congressional Budget Office fiscal year 2015 summary of "Unauthorized Appropriations and Expiring Authorizations," which includes the presently-unauthorized Land and Water Conservation Fund), and a Wisconsin field hearing in Stevens Point (a Wisconsin River town) on federal regulations.

Links are provided below to the relevant committee web pages.  Many Congressional proceedings are webcast live, and these may be, as well (follow the hearing link).  This information will be updated as warranted.

Thursday, November 12
  • Senate Budget Committee hearing to examine spending on unauthorized programs; 10:30 AM, room 608 Dirksen Senate Office Building (No details or hearing link are yet available).
Friday, November 13
  • NEW - House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee roundtable on “The Importance of Port, Waterway, Flood Control, and Ecosystem Restoration Improvements to the Nation’s Economy: Concepts for the Next Water Resources Development Act;” 9:30 AM CST; Formal Conference Room (fourth floor), Louisiana Supreme Court, 400 Royal St., New Orleans
  • Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs field hearing on the "Impact of Federal Regulations: A Case Study of Recently Issued Rules;" 1:00 PM CT, Dreyfus University Center, 230 Laird Room (1015 Reserve Street, Stevens Point, WI 54481).

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